Postcards from the Ledge – 10

Hello in there…

Bless you John Prine and Bette Midler for piercing my 20 year old heart with that song.
It pulled me by the teeth to the other side of a gripping depression and became a touchstone along the way for the next 40 years. I have always worn my fried egg on the outside…proudly because of you.

Me at 20 -1978

Etching from college portfolio  –  1978

So I just got off the phone with my pal Peter Follansbee. I’m throwing a link to his website here …click… so that you can spend some of that extra screen time that we all have these days to visit with him and his woodworking. He, like most of us creative types, is able to continue plying his craft and is producing some fabulous new work.

Both Peter and his wife Maureen are historians who worked at Plymoth Plantation so they have a unique perspective on the 17th century. Peter’s focus was primarily on all things wood while Maureen was the textile expert. So it was that today, when we were comparing quarantine notes in our social distancing phone chat, and I brought up my own next woodworking project… Peter said Maureen wrote an article about that. He’s gonna dig it up for me… and I’m all ears…because…

Laundry.

As I sat in the studio kitchen one morning last week…looking out at the same view I’ve been greeted with for over a decade…the Muses lit a match.

Spark…at the end of the walkway…the centerpiece of the Morag Gamble bed…were the washtubs that Susan gave me years ago for a planter. Deb’s begonias and a few annuals  bloom there every summer and brighten that corner. And the extra light that now shines there in the wake of the giant ash tree removal last year…was apparently just what the Muses needed.

Because…wait for it…they are WASH tubs.

This was the beginning of what turned out to be Olde Timey Sunday.

Well the true beginning was actually the two hours it took me to repair the hose faucet and run a line out to the tubs. But after that …well after I had to whittle a couple stoppers out of our stash of wine corks. But THEN we got it going.

The washing part was made so much easier with those tubs. But the next stage…wringing…eh not so much. My hands aren’t strong enough any more to do that. So I did some research. Of course there is a youtube video on that…and with that help I’ve figured out a way to build a wringer. Hopefully Maureen’s article about doing laundry in the 1600’s will give me a few other pointers. I’ll keep you posted on the making of the wringer…for now you can ponder on the parts list…a rolling pin and bungy cords were ordered from Amazon and the garage will need to be cleared out enough to get to the wood stack and the tools.

It always gives me an energy boost to have a new problem to solve and a project to build, and while the clothes were drying in the sunny breeze, Herself began clearing out the greenhouse…so we could get to the spinning wheel.

Because I scored two brand new fleece to spin !!!

Snowball…and Calico…

Beautiful fleece I found on Etsy from Aspendale Farm . 

A small farm in Idaho where Romney Sheep are raised and where they are kind enough to send an extra gift bag for safe storage…

One of the best days of our year is the trip in May to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and one of the first dominoes to fall in our corner of this pandemic was the early cancellation of that festival. Having had to miss the last two years I was doubly sad. But social media came to the rescue and, after putting a query out to our resourceful peeps, I had several leads on where I might procure some spinning fleece.

One of the best parts of that side trip was reconnecting with Tom Knisely. A wonderful weaver friend of old who lives just over the hill from the studio and we have only now discovered that he has a new weaving/spinning retreat and workshop with his daughter Sara Bixler…oh the excitement as I get to anticipate the day when the vaccine arrives and we can go back out into the world …the very first place I will go is…

So now I’m all set.

The old wheel got some new grease.
When the weather gets just a bit warmer I’ll be out there in my most peaceful place with soft silky fiber steadily spinning onto the bobbin.

The pioneering theme closed out the day with a simple quiet rise…

And there is no better way to illustrate the way that all this hand work soothes the soul …

The Long Draw  –  2018

Stay frosty out there.


Postcards from the Ledge – 6

The last few days have been grim.
The siren calls from hospital workers,
the mounting numbers of casualties,
the criminally incompetent leadership from the oval office,
the crippling anxiety that washes over us…
wave after unrelenting wave.

The last few days have been sparkling.
The return of the indigo bunting outside my window,
flats of winter seedlings getting their first feel of wind,
Finnegan laying peacefully in the sunshine,
lazy conversations over the morning kitchen table with my love,
and the glorious unrelenting waves…
of that brilliant new green.

While I admit to finding myself frozen in my easel chair,
not able to summon the creative energy to pick up even the tiniest of brushes,
I am showing up every day.
I know the Muses are here and I’m listening,
but it sounds like static now…loudly buzzing and confusing.

And what I know about that
is to get up outta that chair and go outside.

The glorious gift of having Herself by our sides
during these stay at home days
means Finn and I are at our happiest in our happy place…
wallowing in the brightening colors of the studio garden…

My organizer using her superpower…

Anyone who needs or wants some of this plastic just holler…

While she sorted…I planted…

Two rows of peas planted in Ruth…which is a bit spicy to read back…

And…at the end of that glorious day…a bit of well earned sky chair rest…

So today’s painting will be a very early work which honors another of my love’s superpowers…

The Folder – 2000

This is quite simply inspired by my friend Rex. He is a poet. Our histories have walked side by side for over forty years. Our paths have criss-crossed over most of them. Our souls have always been as one.

And it is for Pat, my folder.

The Folder

Folded things speak well of you
when you’re out of the room.
They hold the near future captive,
like children about to go on recess
or sexual pleasure at the brim of control.
I think of the pressure of your hand
smoothing over the cloth napkin,
the bedsheet, the piece of clothing
that signals the meal to come,
the lovemaking, the spent day —
and how you stack the bath towels
as high as they’ll go, as a driver
well keep the fuel tank near full
during times of shortage. I step out
of the shower looking to the center
of my life, where you have folded it.
Creases will have nothing to do
with edges: It’s no accident
that ledges are ledges and valleys,
so far removed from any real
horizon, where people most often
choose to put down roots and grow.
I like to imagine that God, who,
faced with formlessness, folded
the world into manageable corners,
sent me you to repeat the gesture.
Rex Wilder


A pause in the madness…for the Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday Pat Lackey !!!!!!

There is no other human on the planet that I would rather be in quarantine with.

Your buddy Finn and I will do our best in this season of lock down to celebrate the wonders of you in our lives.  We will lay a golden carpet of forsythia blooms to brighten your step, take you on a treasure hunt to find the purple crocus, and serenade you as you soak up the sunny sky chair breezes.

Love and leaning berner kisses…your devoted pals.


A soft day on Black Point Pond

A soft day on Black Point Pond  –  16 x 24

This one is for Herself.

My stalwart champion
protector and defender
lover of the ocean
lover of straw hats
lover of me.

If you stand in front of the painting, The Study House,

look out the front door
and use your zoom lens
you will see the barest sliver
of Black Point Pond.

When I was working on this painting spring was in full bloom.
The studio garden was soaking up the warming sun, with spinach,
buttercrunch, land cress, hakuri turnips, cherry red radishes,
and purple sprouting broccoli filling our salad bowls with life itself.

One fine day Miss Pat came over to fetch a bowlful of spring
and poked her smiling face into the studio for a visit.
She noticed a photo tucked into the shelf behind my easel
and asked could she see it please.

It was a snap shot of the pond’s edge
with a woman strolling along
in a straw hat.

Oh, I LOVE this.
Are you going to paint it next.

No, I said, that’s just something the camera caught
while I was photographing the front yard through the door.

But I REALLY love this.
It is such a soft Vineyard moment.

And…there ya go.

My love
AND
My Muse.

This one’s for you Babe.

 

 

 


The Art Game

There has been a facebook campaign of late to flood the social networking space with art. So far I have been a lurker, learning of some new artists and revisiting some old friends…but yesterday An artist friend of particular note, Michael Allen…

check out his work here…  http://michaelallenstudio.blogspot.com/

convinced me to play along and assigned to me the artist Rogier van der Weyden.

So, after a morning of playing in the latest snow storm with Zoe, here is my chosen entry, The Magdalena Reading…

herself reading

because it reminds me, of course, of Herself doing the same…Drifting1

although today,
instead of sitting at the old ironing board
while the snow piles up on the log cabin roof
she is most probably making forts and playing with legos…
Happy Studio Snow Day to all…

 


Happy Birthday…

to Herself !!!

This weekend we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of this wonderful lady. There will be much partying and dancing and laughing and hugging and storytelling and more dancing. But then that pretty much describes every day with Miss Pat. Her spirit and spunk and giant heart are stronger for her 70 years of living but the smile behind those eyes still sparkles with youthful exuberance.

She makes every part of every day better and I am going to have to hold on tight as she leaps forward into this next decade.

You’ve got all my heart babe, consider yourself loved and

 Happy Birthday ! 


Still time…

…to order studio prints for the holidays.

Our little studio workshop has been buzzing with print orders this week and Pat has been making daily runs to Fedex in the sleigh…

I’ve just updated the website but if you don’t see the painting that you want a print of…or if you have other questions about the ordering process…please don’t hesitate to contact us… hnartisan@comcast.net

Ho Ho Ho !


Art Business

This is the chair I would like to be in this morning…

But this is the chair that I’ve actually been in all morning…

Because being a self-employed professional artist is serious…well…business. Which I think they should be a required course for any art major these days !

And lately this seems to take up a whole lot more of my time that it used to.  And the creative right brained visual learners amongst us can empathize with the struggle it can sometimes be to balance all the numbers on those little bits of paper that the CPA would like you to sort out. It  is only one reason that I am intensely grateful for our team of accountants headed up by Pam Bazella at Brown, Schultz, Sheridan and Fritz in Lancaster, PA. They are clever and patient and kindly have our backs and I simply could not function without them.

Self-promotion is another aspect of  “the business of making art”  (which should also be taught in that art major’s curriculum) and it can be layered with a healthy dose of  narcissistic potholes that are sometimes hard for the shy me to step over and around. But it is a vital part of being successful when you are measuring your goals with mortgage payments and health insurance bills. So I swallow…humbly…and plow ahead with announcements each time a new rung of the ladder is reached.

AND I have another partner in this adventure…and this life…without whom I could not exist let alone function…Herself, my Lackey, my Pat. So it is with great relief that she has made it home after a week of watching the new grandbaby up in the north country. I was happy and oh so jealous that she got some good bonding time with Zoe…but happier to have her home with Finn and me.

And now, with all that business out of the way…

I’m gonna go slop some paint around.